Violent crimes are on the rise across Quebec. What are the rights of a person injured in such a crime? Are they entitled to compensation and, if so, from whom?
Leave from work
When a person is injured in a violent crime and is unable to work due to their injuries, they may be eligible for two types of leave from work:
- “Ordinary” leave of 26 weeks during a period of 12 months. This is available for any type of illness or accident.
- “Special” leave of up to two years, for people injured in violent crimes.
The victim’s job is protected by law during this leave. However, they are not entitled to continue receiving their salary — except for the first two days under certain circumstances.
To benefit from the “special” leave, the victim must have suffered a serious physical or psychological injury during — or resulting from — a crime, and they must be unable to do their job due to that injury.
The victim must inform their employer as soon as possible that they will have to miss work and explain why.
These rules apply to employees who are covered by Quebec’s labour standards legislation. Similar protections are available to employees of federally-regulated employers.
To learn more, see the website of the CNESST (labour standards, pay equity and workplace health and safety board): Maladie ou accident non lié au travail | Commission des normes de l’équité de la santé et de la sécurité du travail – CNESST (gouv.qc.ca) and Congé pour les victimes d’acte criminel | Commission des normes de l’équité de la santé et de la sécurité du travail – CNESST (gouv.qc.ca) (in French only)
Victims of violent crime can also benefit from various compensation programs which may cover loss of income and medical expenses.
If the crime occurred in the workplace, the victim can apply to the CNESST. This might be the case, for example, if the victim was a cashier who was injured during an armed robbery at work.
A crime victim may also be eligible for compensation from IVAC (crime victim compensation program). To be eligible, a person must be the victim of a crime that caused them physical injury or psychological harm and must usually be ineligible for compensation under another program. For more information, see our article Compensation for Crime Victims (IVAC).
There are time limits on making a claim which vary according to the program in question.
Private insurance policies may also provide compensation to crime victims, particularly for property damage.